Lester Denley - Full Testimony
IMMANUEL: God with Us.
As 2020 began, things were wonderful.
Then, I began to have trouble with my voice, and I began seeing a specialist at Ochsner’s in New Orleans. In late February, he said that he wanted to get a biopsy of my voice box, just to be sure. We did that around the first of March, and about this time, the Coronavirus really began to run rampant and spread everywhere, especially at Ochsner’s. The hospital didn’t get my biopsy back for about 3 weeks to a month, so of course I wasn’t thinking anything of it. The doctor called me shortly after that and related that I had cancer in my voice box.
I really can’t describe to you how I felt and how I acted when I got that news. I probably won’t even try, because actually, it would embarrass me to tell you how I acted. As I look back, my actions and my attitude were nothing like being a Christian. I acted like that in front of my grown kids, and I am ashamed of my actions. I was a Christian then — I know I was. We know when we’re Christians. I believed that Christ had died a horrible death for me so that I can live in eternal life. I repented of my sins and began to try to be more like Jesus every day. But, I had a long way to go.
We couldn’t get into MD Anderson — my wife and kids wanted me to do that — because of COVID-19. I didn’t want to go back to Ochsner’s, because it was full of the virus. Probably over 300 employees, including doctors, had the virus, so for whatever reason, we were led to Doctor Wall in Biloxi. I didn’t know her, but one of the things I know was directed by God was leading me to her. She had a plan for my treatment, but she told us that she wanted to pray about it first. How many doctors would do that — say they wanted to pray about what they were going to do? I knew that was the right place.
I went through 36 or 37 radiation treatments, and I know a bunch of you probably have, too. I went though about 8 treatments of chemo. They made a mask-like contraption that went over my face and over my shoulders, and it held me down. And when I say it held me down, I couldn’t move anything — sometimes I couldn’t even breathe.
Here’s the deal: I’m terribly claustrophobic. I can’t even ride in an elevator without breaking out in a sweat. There was nothing in this world that could help me.
So, I began to pray. And, the prayers were different this time. You talk about earnest and humble. I just knew I needed Him really badly. So, the next day, when I went for my first treatment and they put that contraption on me, it didn’t bother me a bit!
You know, I was in a dark place — I’m not proud of it. I’m more or less ashamed of it. But while I’m in this dark place, when Jesus came, He shined his light into my darkness. He shines His light into the darkness of the world. And when I had that thing on my head, I knew God was with me.
During the coming weeks of treatment, I had problems every week. I had a rash — it looked like leprosy to me, but they called it a rash. The next week, I couldn’t eat (but I tried, because Diane wouldn’t leave me alone about it).
God handled every problem that arose. The worry was gone. I cast my worries and my anxieties on Him. I realized more than ever that He DID care for me. I prayed several times each day, but they were different prayers. God was with me every day, and He has been since that time.
I finished the treatments with a PET scan, and they found I had no more cancer. But, I began to have problems in that area. I found out the radiation had burnt up my voice box. At least 2 of my doctors felt like, either the cancer was back or there was new cancer to be found.
At that time, I was having difficulty breathing. I had an appointment with my pulmonologist on a Friday, and they said, “listen, I heard you’re having problems breathing. Come with me, I’m going to get you an appointment with a radiologist right now” even though I hadn’t made one or had any hope of getting in to see one that weekend. She told me that I needed a tracheotomy right now, and, of course I didn’t want one, but she found an OR, left patients, and put a trach in immediately. She told me, if I hadn’t done that right away, I would have died that very night because my airway was the size of a coffee straw.
In that moment, God was with me, I know he was. I went back to an ENT surgeon. He did another biopsy, and I actually felt like I had cancer. But, I was at peace now. I didn’t act foolish. I knew I was going to lean on God; I was going to let Jesus help me, because He cares for me. And I did that. And the biopsy came back negative — that was good. But, then I was told that I had to go back and get my entire voice back taken out, a feeding tube placed in my stomach, etc. It turned out, none of that needed to happen after all.
Are you getting the point? God was with me.
God had been beside me for decades, but I didn’t really appreciate it. I didn’t really express my gratitude at all. But, you know what? In every prayer, every day, I do give him thanks for what He’s done for me and what He’s doing for me. I might not have done it in the past, but for the rest of my days, I’ll be doing it.
Now is a good time to reassess your relationship with Christ. Things can look like they’re going well, but you need to make sure you know that God is there in the good times and the bad. Immanuel, God is with you! But you’ve got to ask Him. You’ve got to have a relationship with Him.
You know, there’s going to come a time when God decides it’s time for me to go, and when it does, I’ll be ready. But my priority now is saying every prayer in such a way that I’m in God’s will for my life.
I’m not ready to go, don’t misunderstand me, but I’ll be ready when He says so.
Beautiful testimony!! GOD IS SO GOOD🙏🏻
I have almost no words to tell you how happy I am to read your testimony. I have thought about you and prayed for you many times since Marvin Earl told me that you had cancer and didn’t want to talk to anybody. None of us know how we would react to such news. The important thing is that you turned to Him, that you learned to trust Him completely. It really is true that when we have no where else to turn, we find that He is all we really needed anyway!